Once upon a time, Jehovah God Almighty created a paradise garden on the newly formed Earth, which became the home of Adam and Eve, the first two people who ever lived. God told them to be fruitful and multiply and be the masters over the Earth and all the living creatures of the skies, lands, and oceans. His purpose for His new creations was to fill the paradise with happy people who would walk in fellowship with their Heavenly Father.

Adam and Eve had everything they could possibly ever dream of, all without labor, pain, or fear, for Jehovah supplied all abundantly. They could eat from any of the garden's numerous fruit trees--except for one, the tree of knowledge in its middle. "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," Jehovah commanded them. (Genesis 2:17, American Standard Version) Certainly, it was the easiest command to obey!

Yet, such a simple command from their Father they disobeyed without hesitation, when Satan, through a snake, called Jehovah a liar when he told them, "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4-5)

Thus, Adam and Eve deliberately (stupidly, I must add) disobeyed Jehovah by taking a route independent of His loving guidance. Like rebellious teenagers, they thought they would gain much more freedom, but in reality, just as teenagers who choose to do drugs and smoke, they ended up harming themselves.

Death Enters Humanity

Being always honest and truthful, Jehovah kept His word: He punished Adam and Eve with death, though not an immediate death. He also sent them out of the Garden of Eden, lest they eat from the tree of life that would allow them to live forever. Hence, not only had they lost the right to live in the garden, but they also lost the privilege of immortality, for themselves and for their offspring. So "through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." (Romans 5:12)

The Paradise, Lost?

So has Jehovah's purpose for the lovely Earth been ruined? No, His plans are just delayed for a while, not gone to waste at all. Right now, He is just giving us humans the "freedom" we have chosen, to prove to us that our "freedom" is actually costing us a lot: human government that has led to greed, insecurity, pain, and misery. At the same time, Jehovah has been waiting for more people to turn from their old bad way of living, so when He fulfills His purpose at His appointed time, there will be a multitude of good people to inhabit the new Earth paradise.

What will the paradise be like? Here are some of its main features:

*No evil—everyone will be good
*No death—everyone will live forever
*No sickness—everyone will be healthy, with no suffering and pain
*Full of security and peace—children can freely play with lions and wolves
*No famine—all food will be abundant
*Filled with justice—God will be our King

So how can we "quicken" this process? In other words, how can we "help" Jehovah, our Heavenly Father, fulfill His plans for our futures? Remember, God's purpose for the Earth is that it be inhabited by righteous people. So if we want to be a part in fulfilling this purpose, we must turn from our bad ways to embrace an acceptable way of living.

But where should we start? Being a virtuous person can be quite hard at times, as we inherited a sinful nature from the first two people. But especially, it is hard for us because Satan is our king, and he tries his hardest to tempt us into doing what God hates.

But God knows our weaknesses, and He is most forgiving of our sins when we repent. Therefore, repentance is the first step to aligning our walk with God.

What does it take for you to repent? What does repentance really involve?

Let's say you shoplifted at your local Wal-Mart store. To repent for your action, you need to:

1. Admit that shoplifting is wrong

2. Feel sorry that you shoplifted.

3. And never shoplift again.

When you have truly repented, Jehovah will forgive you. He clearly states in His Holy Scriptures, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways." (Ezekiel 33:11) His grace was illustrated in the book of Jonah, where God forgave Nineveh, a great city of over 120,000 people, when they repented.

But you have to truly repent. The keyword is "truly." True repentance means that you stick to this step: never do the wrong again. Sincere repentance involves a change of one's ways, not simply a change of one's attitude. Feeling sorry for the wrong you did is meaningless if that regret does not affect your future actions. If you repeat the same error again, it means you have not repented.

Just because Jehovah is forgiving does not mean that we should abuse His love. And just because He is forgiving does not mean He is not just. This perfect, holy God requires true repentance; anything less will not earn His approval.

Once we turn to the right path, we must be careful to stick to it. To take our old route again will make our travel more arduous than it was before we found the right path. God warned us, "When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die therein. And when the wicked turneth from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby." (Ezekiel 33:18-19)

"He loveth righteousness and justice: The earth is full of the lovingkindness of Jehovah." (Psalm 33:5)

When we put forgiveness and justice together, we get a judge-like figure in Jehovah, who judges things fairly. He acquits those who have truly repented and sentences those who claim to have repented but continually repeat the same offenses.

Yet, no matter how hard we try, none of us can become 100% virtuous according to the Holy Scriptures, so something has to help bring us closer, much closer to God and closer to the paradise. That something is faith in Jesus Christ, Son of Jehovah. Faith in the Christ is the only path to salvation; having faith in him will save us from the punishment of sin, which is eternal death.

What does faith in the Christ mean? Does it mean simply believing in him? If "believing" is all it takes, then we can say that Satan will be saved!

"Faith" in Jesus is "loving Jesus." To truly love him, we have to love and embrace his teachings, which are the teachings from his Father. Only when we accept God's teachings and walk in them daily, will we become the children of Jehovah and be saved.

What is true love? Your next step is to determine and know what true love is, then you can truly love God and His Son. Pick up the Bible, read and study it. Can you tell which people truly loved God? Then follow in their steps, as they followed in Jesus' steps.

(Partially excerpted from Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness by Shirley Cheng. © by Shirley Cheng. All Rights Reserved)

Author's Bio: 

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with twenty book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards), motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness"), contributor to eighteen, and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. Visit http://www.shirleycheng.com for more inspiration.